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Plants of the Week:

CYCLAMEN - Long Lasting Winter Color

Looking to add some vibrant color indoors this winter? We have just the plant for you - cyclamen. This cheery plant is easy to care for and provides color to any indoor space during the long, cold days of winter. A cool weather bloomer, cyclamen features unusually shaped, colorful blossoms and variegated gray-green elliptical leaves. Its long lasting blooms come in bold shades of pink, red, purple and white. Cyclamen needs cool temperatures to continue blooming, so be sure to keep these plants away from heat sources and, if possible, in a cool part of the house.

Cyclamen can also be enjoyed outdoors any time the temperature is above freezing (on frosty nights, remember to bring them inside). Plant them in containers with pansies and other garden plants for a bright spot of color on a winter patio or front doorstep. Cyclamen prefer bright light, but avoid full sun during the winter growing season. Keep the soil continuously moist during the winter months. Never water from overhead, being careful to wet only the soil and not the plant or tuber at the center of the plant. So this winter, make your space as cheerful as possible with the bold colors of cyclamen!

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The Indoor Garden

Our Top Houseplant Picks for 2015

With the Christmas decorations coming down, you will definitely want to look at these houseplants to fill in the voids that the Christmas decor left. Refresh holiday blooms with our favorite houseplants. Here are some of our top picks:

African Violets - African violets are one of the easiest to grow flowering houseplants. They bloom year-round with little effort. Hundreds of varieties are available, some with variegated foliage or ruffled blooms. African violets prefer warm conditions and filtered sunlight. Avoid getting water on the fuzzy leaves as cold water can cause brown spots. If you have a bright window, this plant can bloom continuously. It also blooms in a variety of colors, so there is surely one to compliment your décor. A must for winter windowsills! If the room you have for violets is too cool during the winter, be sure to check out its cousin-Streptocarpus. They will tolerate 60 degrees much better than the violets-that are best between 68-78 degrees. For best success, water with room temperature rain water.

Anthuriums - Anthuriums bloom in vibrant shades of pink, red, lavender, or even white, and the blooms can last for two months or more. They also make a long-lasting cut flower if you can bear to cut them. Anthuriums require medium to bright light to bloom, but can be grown as a foliage plant with less light. The large, deep-green leaves are heart-shaped and is perfect for adding a touch of color to your home. This plant pulls double duty. Use inside in the winter and place it outside on a patio for the summer. A tropical delight! Anthuriums love the heat and humidity of summer in Hampton Roads. By the end of the summer, you will have a profusion of flowers and buds. Be sure to bring them indoors as the weather cools in late October or early November. Fertilize from March to September and for best success water with room temperature rain water.

Bromeliads - This tough, low-light houseplants can endure a wide range of indoor conditions with minimal care. These spectacular plants, related to the pineapple family, are available in an impressive palette of bright tropical colors, with unique foliage that adds a pop of color to any home. Bromeliads make excellent houseplants and a single plant can be a stunning focal point in any indoor or outdoor room. With long-lasting, brilliantly colored foliage, bromeliads adapt to the unfavorable growing conditions that exist in most homes. In general, these plants are easy to grow and require very little care. They come in a wide range of sizes from tiny miniatures to giants. With their impressive structure and ornamental foliage, the visual impact of bromeliads is immediate. Try planting them alone in a concrete or uniquely shaped container or combine them with a companion plant where the bromeliad will surely be center stage.

Cyclamen - This garden jewel has long-lasting blooms that come in bold shades of pink, red or white. The foliage is also attractive, often having silver marbling on the top-side of the leaves. This little plant will pack a punch when not much else is blooming. Cyclamen can be enjoyed outdoors any time the temperature is above freezing. We often plant them in containers with pansies and other garden plants for a bright spot of color on a fall and winter patio. This cheery plant is easy to care-for and provides color to any indoor space during the winter. Water with room temperature rain water being careful to wet only the soil and not the plant or tuber at the center of the plant.

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Fresh Air for a Fresh Year

Breath Easy with Houseplants

In this age of technology, we all need to stay in touch with nature. Houseplants help fulfill this, as well as adding attractiveness to the décor in our indoor surroundings. Even more importantly, the ordinary houseplants may be one of the best solutions to help improve your indoor air. The plants listed below have been found to filter certain pollutants from indoor livings spaces according to studies at the National Space Technologies.

• Spider Plants
• Peace Lily
• Golden Pothos
• Chinese Evergreen

These air cleaning plant varieties appear to have two things in common ~ they all require relatively low light and they do not bear flowers. As home insulation has been improved to help save on winter heating costs, concern over indoor pollution is becoming more important. Plants using tiny leaf openings called stomato cleanse the indoor air found in ordinary households. According to studies, when a spider plant was placed in a sealed chamber, the concentration of formaldehyde (emitted naturally by plastics and building materials) had an 85% reduction from the starting level after only 24 hours. Houseplants already plant an important role in our lives, but perhaps we are just beginning to really appreciate how important they really are!

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